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FREE Columbia School Guide – 24 Hours Only!

school guidesIn honor of our new Admissions Counselor Erin Hale, who joins us after three years in the Columbia Business School admissions office, Clear Admit is excited to offer applicants one FREE school guide to Columbia Business School.  Available for immediate download, each Clear Admit School Guide offers informative and detailed profiles of leading business schools; the definitive guide to CBS, the Columbia School Guide provides insight into the program’s core curriculum, popular professors and access to business leaders in NYC, among much more.  Prospective Columbia applicants should be sure to take advantage of this special offer, but even prospective applicants of other programs could benefit from learning more about what the Clear Admit School Guides have to offer. Admissions officers, applicants and the press all agree that the Clear Admit School Guides are a vital tool to successfully navigating the MBA admissions process.

In order to download your free Columbia School Guide, simply go to the Clear Admit Shop and enter coupon code CBSSG14 at checkout.  This limited-time offer ends tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. EST. 

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Trivia Tuesday: INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy Institute

It’s time again for Trivia Tuesday, our weekly in-depth look at the specific programs and what differentiates them from their competitors.  This week, we’re picking up the Clear Admit Guide to INSEAD to learn more about the school’s Blue Ocean Strategy Institute.

“Located in Fontainebleau, the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute (IBOSI) was founded in 2007 to raise awareness of the Blue Ocean theory of strategic market growth created by INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. According to this model, the market universe can be divided into areas of “red ocean,” in which competition between companies is fierce, and “blue ocean,” in which many unexplored business opportunities remain; companies are encouraged to move toward areas of blue ocean, where competition is a non-factor and demand is created rather than fought over. IBOSI’s overarching mission is to conduct meaningful research that utilizes Blue Ocean Strategy to propose new methodologies in management. The institute then seeks to translate the theoretical, academic findings of its affiliated researchers into real-world solutions for companies, governments and nonprofit organizations.

“Aside from these research efforts, IBOSI offers MBA students the chance to enroll in Blue Ocean Strategy electives twice a year to gain further training in its methodologies. These courses are available in both Fontainebleau and Singapore. One such course, the Blue Ocean Strategy Study Group, gives students the opportunity to learn from and work directly with the founders of IBOSI on independent research projects while learning about key concepts in blue ocean theory. In the second, the Blue Ocean Strategy Simulation half-course elective, students apply their understanding of Blue Ocean Strategy to practical situations through an interactive simulation. Students who complete both courses are awarded a Blue Ocean Strategy Certificate signed by Kim and Mauborgne, which reflects the student’s comprehension of the basic tenets of the theory and their ability to apply them in a real-world context.”

To read more about INSEAD’s curriculum and other offerings, be sure to check out the Clear Admit Guide to INSEAD. All Clear Admit School Guides are available for immediate purchase and download at the Clear Admit shop.

You could win a Clear Admit Guide!  Based on today’s post, we’ll be running a trivia contest on Twitter.  Be sure to follow us and play for your chance to win!

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UT Austin / McCombs Essay Topic Analysis 2014-2015

Today we’ll be offering some pointers on UT Austin McCombs’s 2014-2015 application essays.

While McCombs has reduced the number of required essays for this admissions season – down from three prompts last year to just two this cycle – the changes aren’t quite as drastic as we’ve seen with some other programs. The school has retained its creative introduction essay that it introduced last year, and appears to have combined two of last year’s 250-word prompts, one about fit with McCombs and another about what the applicant sought from the UT Austin MBA, into a single 500-word response for this year. These prompts seem to reflect a continued interest in the qualities that an applicant would bring to his or her classmates and the larger McCombs community, as well as his or her reasons for seeking an MBA from this particular program.

Let’s take a closer look at each of McComb’s essays:

Essay 1: Imagine that you are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2017. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, and include any personal and/or professional aspects that you believe to be significant. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.
• Write an essay (250 words)
• Share a video introduction (one minute)
• Share your about.me profile

Appearing on the McCombs MBA application for a second year in a row, this prompt affords applicants two new media options to go beyond the traditional written essay. No matter which of these three is the best fit with your background, there are a few themes to keep in mind as you plot out your approach. This essay looks to see how applicants present themselves to their peers, requiring applicants to reflect carefully on the aspects of their backgrounds that would be most interesting and valuable to their future classmates. While a brief mention of your professional background and career goals may be appropriate, we also encourage applicants to use this opportunity to showcase elements of their personalities and candidacies that they will not have the chance to address in their responses to the other application essay. Perhaps you have a particularly interesting work or extracurricular experience to share, or a personal accomplishment or aspect of your heritage of which you’re especially proud. If any of these lend themselves to a video presentation, you could consider how to visually convey more personal information in addition to any script you may draft. The 250-word limit does give applicants some flexibility for describing a range of qualities and characteristics in order to demonstrate the well-rounded nature of their candidacies, while applicants with a robust (and admissions-appropriate) social media presence might opt to synthesize text and visuals in an about.me profile.

Essay 2: In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities for growth in an academically rigorous environment. Please discuss why McCombs is the right program for you, what you hope to gain from your time in the Texas MBA Program both personally and professionally, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experiences. (500 words)
Rather than asking about these topics in isolated essays as they did last season, the adcom has combined the “why MBA” and “fit with McCombs” topics into a single prompt this year, giving applicants a bit more freedom in structuring their responses and allocating words among these subjects (that said, last year’s structure may provide a cue that applicants should aim to devote roughly equal parts of the essay to each topic). Applicants will naturally want to discuss their professional goals and the ways the McCombs MBA would position them for success, as well as the more personal growth they hope to experience and soft skills they wish to gain during their time on campus.

At the same time, they’ll also want to be clear about how they would enhance the experience of their fellow students, whether through in-class participation, leadership of a student organization, or other avenues. Throughout, it will be important to demonstrate one’s fit with and knowledge of the McCombs program and school community, going into some detail about specific classes and clubs that are appealing. Taking the time to learn about the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities – whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to McCombs School of Business – will pay dividends here.

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (200 words)
This essay will be best used to address liabilities in one’s application rather than to provide “bonus” information to the adcom. Candidates with questionable quantitative records, gaps in employment, or unusual recommenders should take advantage of this opportunity to offer explanations or outline plans to address potential issues.

Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays | 0 comments

Wharton Social Impact Initiative to Pay Down Student Loans for MBAs Who Pursue Nonprofit, Public Sector Careers

loan forgivenessFor MBAs who pursue careers in the nonprofit and public sectors, paying back staggering student loans they took out to finance their degree can be incredibly challenging. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, a social impact‒focused fund managed by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative comes to the rescue.

The John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service was created in 2005 by a 1940 graduate of the school, John Bendheim, and his son Tom, WG/Lauder ’90. The fund will grant up to $20,000 per year to pay down selected candidates’ student loans. Continue reading…

Posted in: Financial Aid, MBA News, News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Admissions Director Q&A: Shari Hubert of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business

shari_hubertIn our continuing series of interviews with admissions directors at leading business schools, we spoke most recently with Shari Hubert of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Hubert joined McDonough last year as associate dean of MBA admissions, where she leads recruitment efforts to attract highly qualified, diverse students to the school’s full-time and part-time MBA programs.

Prior to joining McDonough, Hubert served as director of recruitment for the Peace Corps’ Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection, where she was responsible for recruiting 4,000 volunteers annually and managed the operations of nine regional recruitment offices across the United States. Before that, she led campus recruitment for Citi’s Global Bank in North America and served as the manager for campus relations in corporate recruiting at GE’s corporate headquarters. She also led the Executive Leadership and Civic Development Program at the Partnership for New York City, a business advocacy association focused on public and private partnerships. Continue reading…

Posted in: Admissions Director Q&A | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Planning for the R1 MBA Deadlines

Admissions Tip: Planning for the R1 MBA Deadlines

Anyone who’s familiar with the MBA application process knows that August moves forward at an accelerated pace, and come September, entire weeks seem to disappear.  To help this year’s Round One applicants avoid the classic time crunch, today’s blog post offers some basic advice on how to approach the Round One deadlines at a reasonable pace.

Let’s start by taking a quick look some of at the published Round One deadlines for the top MBA programs: Continue reading…

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Planning Tips | 0 comments

Fridays from the Frontline: It was the best/worst of times

This week in the business school blogosphere, MBA students travel the world and embark on promising business ventures, while applicants continue wading through the complex and often mysterious process of applying to business school.

Many applicants are doling out advice about how to navigate the MBA admissions game. First, Texaswannabecali recommends getting “behind the scenes info” on your target schools by contacting alumni, current students, and visiting campus. She also stresses the importance of researching your schools before visiting: “Don’t you just hate the person who asks a question in class that the teacher LITERALLY just answered 3 seconds ago? Yeah, don’t be that person.”  Continue reading…

Posted in: Fridays from the Frontline, Weekly Columns | 0 comments

Twitter Thursdays: News from MBA Programs

Welcome to another summer take of Twitter Thursdays, in which we highlight some of the top “tweets” from MBA programs on Twitter.  If you want to stay on top of our updates, special prizes, admissions tips and breaking news, be sure to check Clear Admit out on Twitter. We’ve also created several lists related to MBA admissions to ease your daily access to breaking news from the top MBA programs.

The Senior Associate Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions at Michigan / Ross, Diana Economy, directed followers to Clear Admit’s exclusive Admissions Director Q&A with Soojin Kwon. Amidst his heavy reading, the Dean of the Darden School of Business, Bob Bruner, plugged his own writing on the value of explorers. In addition to expanding on the school’s four Defining Principles, Rich Lyons, the Dean of the Haas School of Business, announced the release of the latest alumni magazine. Continue reading…

Posted in: Twitter Thursdays, Weekly Columns | 0 comments

Northwestern / Kellogg Essay Topic Analysis 2014-2015

Following up on the announcement of Kellogg’s 2014-2015 essay questions, we wanted to offer some thoughts on how aspiring Northwestern MBA students might approach this element of the application.

Kellogg’s essay set this season consists of just two required responses totaling 900 words, in contrast to its three essays last year. Notably, the school has done away with its question about the applicant’s post-MBA plans and reasons for interest in Kellogg, though it’s possible that applicants will be asked to comment briefly on these subjects in their data forms. As for the two questions that remain, while the wording of each of these prompts has changed, their essence remains similar to the school’s questions from last year, with the first essay centering on the applicant’s resilience in the face of challenge or obstacle, and the second focusing on leadership ability.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these prompts:

Essay 1: Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)
The framing of this question makes it clear that the admissions committee isn’t just interested in the process of overcoming adversity, but also with the resulting growth and character-building that occurred. Given that applicants may draw from the personal or professional realms in responding to this question, there are numerous topics that could be appropriate here. For example, an applicant could discuss how growing up in difficult socioeconomic circumstances influenced his or her strong work ethic, or how a relationship with an adversarial supervisor made him or her a more flexible, adaptable person. Regardless of the subject, after providing a detailed description of the situation or experience and the reasons it posed a challenge—i.e. what skills, values, areas of knowledge, or assumptions were tested— applicants should be sure to clearly explain how they rose to the challenge and how that process shaped them in a positive way that has prepared them for success. To really prove to the adcom that they learned from the experience, applicants could provide a brief example of a later time when they navigated a difficult situation by implementing the strengths they’ve gained. In demonstrating their overall growth, applicants will show the adcom that they possess the ability to exercise resilience and overcome challenging circumstances to achieve a favorable outcome.

Essay 2: Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)
No matter the nature of the professional experience chosen for this essay—for example, one could discuss a large-scale project success or a smaller initiative that improved a workplace process—the key word for applicants to attend to in this prompt is “influence.” The adcom is zeroing in on the interpersonal element of effective leadership here; while applicants will obviously want to comment on a successful outcome, this will be of secondary importance to illustrating the process by which he or she motivated or persuaded others in this situation. In addition to explaining the situation and their objectives, applicants may wish to go into detail about specific interactions, meetings, or presentations in order to highlight their interpersonal leadership skills in action. Of course, effective essays will also provide a complete treatment of lessons learned through this experience and ways that the applicant’s leadership skills or approach have been enhanced as a result.

Finally, given the scarcity of opportunities to convey their enthusiasm for Kellogg’s program in this essay set, applicants may want to take this opportunity to comment on a leadership position they may want to hold as an MBA student, and to remark on how this experience would equip them to make an impact on the Kellogg community. The program’s website, current and former students, and the Clear Admit School Guide to Kellogg are a few of the many resources available for this sort of information.

Re-applicant Essay: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)
The framing of this question suggests that the adcom is more interested in proactive steps toward material improvement of one’s candidacy, as opposed to a reflective discussion of personal growth. Applicants should therefore focus on the specific ways they’ve worked to strengthen their candiacy and the reasons that they believe themselves to be a better applicant to Kellogg this time around.

Optional Essay/Additional Information: If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word limit)
Comments in this section should be limited to explaining potential liabilities or inconsistencies in one’s application. While applicants are free to write as much as they like here, we recommend a straightforward approach that uses as few words—and as little of the reader’s scarce time—as possible.

Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays | 0 comments

IESE Launches Corporate Finance MOOC

ieseIESE, like many other leading business schools, is embracing technology to offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and has just launched its latest, called Corporate Finance Essentials. Designed for executives anywhere in the world who want to understand key financial issues related to companies, investors and their interaction with capital markets, the new course will be taught by IESE Javier Estrada.

Over the course of a series of six lectures lasting between 45 and 60 minutes each, Estrada will help participants increase their financial literacy and gain a better understanding of what is written in the financial press. Recommended readings will complement the lectures. Continue reading…

Posted in: MBA News, News | 0 comments